One Month Challenge: No Eating After 10 p.m., The End

[Everyone’s got a vice, a bad habit, something they know they need to change. Unfortunately, everyone also has a million excuses why they just can’t do it. Not anymore. Every month we will be following a different CollegeCandy writer as she takes on a personal challenge. This month, Melissa’s been trying to stop her late night snacking. She hit a few bumps the first week, and sorta hit rock bottom on week 2. And now, thank god, it’s all over. So what did she learn?]

It’s my third (and basically last) week at this, and I have come to a conclusion — this challenge, in its perfect entirety, is impossible to complete. At least for someone like me who stays up way past 10 p.m. at night. However, I’ve still learned some very valuable lessons.

Eating is meant to fuel your body. Although after 10 p.m. we all want to nosh, I believe we should try not to, as that is not conducive to food’s goal. Through this challenge, I have learned a lot about my habits and why I eat late at night, and this challenge has made me so aware of my actions.

There is so much dieting information out there that will tell you that eating late at night is the key to weight gain. I don’t necessarily believe that is true — I believe that we eat calorically dense foods late at night, and that is connected to weight gain, not the time of day at which we consume them. But if we change our habits and use the food we eat late at night PURELY for fuel if we absolutely need it (read: if tea or water just doesn’t do the trick), then I personally think that’s totally acceptable.

This challenge has definitely motivated me to change my habits. This final week, when I was truly, truly hungry and water was not sufficing me, I would eat a wedge of Laughing Cow light cheese. A small snack with a little protein sufficed me late at night, and at 35 calories per wedge, it wasn’t a huge caloric commitment. My tummy was happy and my sanity was slightly restored — and I need to cherish all the sanity I can find!

I originally thought this challenge would motivate me to never eat late at night again. Instead, it has made me so aware of the reasons why I used to eat late at night: because food was there, because everyone else was doing it, or because I was bored or stressed. Completing this challenge has made me realize the power of food as fuel, rather than as a treat. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not going to be shunning dessert for the rest of my days (because I think that would make me lose my mind), but as far as late-night eating goes, I’m going to be more conscious and aware of the quality of the food my late-night self consumes.

For all of you other late-night eaters out there, I encourage you to give this challenge a try. The realizations I made about myself and my habits are valuable and helped me figure out how exactly I needed to change. So try and put down that 11:30 box of cookies, and let me know how it goes!

[Check out the other One Month Challenges we’ve taken on. And if you’ve got a challenge you want to tackle (and be held accountable for), email us and we could feature you next month. Come on – it’s good for you!]

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